In Avengers: Infinity War, Peter Parker’s crime-fighting alter ego dons a new suit and gets a new codename to match: Iron Spider. But what does this mean for Spider-Man’s future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Marvel Studios has begun ramping up hype towards the release of Infinity War, even moving the release date up one week to April 27th. We already knew from the trailer that Spidey is sporting a new costume, the same suit Tony Stark offered him when he was meant to formally join the Avengers at the conclusion of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Fans immediately recognized the outfit as the Iron Spider armor, viewing it a tease to the comics. It will find a proper use in Infinity War; though Peter surprised Stark by walking away from becoming an Avenger at that time, the invasion of Earth by Thanos causes Peter to finally wear the new Stark Tech suit and become the Iron Spider.
Merchandise for Infinity War, such as new Avengers 3 promos and a lot of toys, identifies this Spider-Man getup as “Iron Spider”, which is a bit of a surprise. Does this mean the web-slinger’s undergoing a permanent name change? Is Iron Spider merely a one-off revamp just to add an extra level of specialness to Avengers 3, as well as a shout-out to the famous Civil War storyline in Marvel Comics? Or could it be that Iron Spider has greater MCU ramifications for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man going forward into Phase 4?
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Iron Spider Explained
Marvel Studios always draws inspiration from the comics source material. Tony Stark mentoring Peter Parker in the MCU and creating Iron Spider armor for the Web-Head is no different. During the 2006/2007 Civil War event, Tony became Peter’s mentor and employer. In Peter, Stark recognized a kindred intellect and scientific genius, and the billionaire took the financially-struggling Parker under his wing. Stark helped Peter and his family with resources and protection during the conflict. In turn, Peter became Tony’s assistant. In the ultimate act of trust, Peter agreed to publicly reveal his identity as Spider-Man at Tony’s urging, which Peter quickly came to regret.
Of course, Tony gifted Peter with the Iron Spider armor, one of the most memorable redesigns of Spider-Man’s costume. A new Stark Tech uniform loaded with gadgets and weapons, the Iron Spider suit’s most distinctive features were the ‘waldoes’, which are the huge mechanical pincer arms emanating from the armor’s back. That Stark selected his own trademark red and gold as the colors of the Iron Spider rather than honoring Spider-Man’s traditional red and blue colors spoke to how Stark regarded Parker as another type of Iron Man: an extension of his image. Parker initially had issues with the armor as Stark had programmed it with Iron Man’s fighting style and not Spider-Man’s. After the necessary tweaks, though, Peter wore the Iron Spider suit for a time and exploited all of his new wonderful toys in his crime-fighting exploits.
When his feelings of being manipulated by Tony and his philosophical disagreements with Stark’s methods during the Civil War pushed him too far, Spider-Man turned on his mentor and fought against Iron Man alongside Captain America’s Secret Avengers. As a result, Peter abandoned the Iron Spider persona and resumed adventuring as the classic Spider-Man. However, in the years since, the red and gold armor has made several appearances and other characters have briefly become the Iron Spider – including Mary Jane Watson!
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